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1 Author(s)
Le Caine, H. ; Radio and Elect. Engrg. Div., National Res. Council of Canada, Ottawa, Can.

The three attributes of musical sound, pitch, loudness and timbre, are discussed in relation to their counterparts in an electrical signal, frequency, amplitude and harmonic spectrum. Although electrical devices can control these quantities simply according to the explicit instructions contained in written music, that is, to provide the "bare essentials" of a musical performance, it is more difficult to produce the complex patterns of frequency, amplitude and harmonic spectrum actually found in a musical performance on well known instruments. Control of the build up and decay of each note, arbitrary deviations of pitch, vibrato of varying rates and amounts, and a "choir effect" of random pattern of beats are required. Various means of achieving these effects are discussed, first in the electronic organ and then in various "monophonic" or single-note instruments. Finally, coded-performance of "synthetic music" devices are described, including those used by the Musique Concrete Group of Paris, and the Cologne Studio for Electronic Music.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IRE  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

April 1956

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